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Summer Health Tips for HorsesBack to overview
The summer season has officially started, and like many horse owners, you may be wondering what you can do to help keep your horse healthy this time of the year. Although your veterinarian is always the best source of information regarding your horse’s health, here are a few tips to help keep your horse healthy this summer.
- Avoid the heat of the day – Whether it’s for turn-out or riding, it’s best to avoid the heat of the day with your horse. If possible, turn horses out overnight and ride either first thing in the morning or during the evening hours. Doing so will avoid putting extra demands on your horse’s body from the heat and humidity of the day. Heat can tax the cardiovascular and respiratory systems as they work to maintain your horse’s normal temperature in the face of the dual demands of heat and exercise. When not working, horses should have access to shade in a well-ventilated area – either a stall, run-in shed, or the shade provided by large trees.
- Maintain your horse’s hydration – Providing adequate hydration is paramount for horses in the summer time. Horses consume 5-10 gallons of water per day on average, and often much more in the summer heat. Horses can lose a significant volume of fluid via sweat during the heat and humidity. Ample fresh drinking water should be provided. Offering a bucket of water with electrolytes can help replenish sodium, potassium, and chloride that are lost in sweat. If electrolytes are offered, it is important to also offer fresh, plain water as well, as some horses may not drink the electrolytes, potentially exacerbating the problem of dehydration. Soaking hay can also provide an additional source of hydration for horses. When horses become dehydrated, not only is their cardiovascular system asked to work harder, they become predisposed to colic and renal health challenges.
- Practice vigilant mosquito, fly and tick control – Mosquitos can carry infectious diseases that can be deadly for horses. Flies can cause hypersensitivity reactions and spread parasites. Ticks can carry bloodborne infectious diseases that affect horses, pets and people. Horse owners should take measures to minimize the presence of these pests around their horses. The presence of mosquitos can be reduced by minimizing sources of standing water. Other areas that collect water, such as pot holes and old tires should be checked for standing water and cleaned or dumped at least every 3 days. Any ponds or water features on the property should have pumps or fountains to keep water moving. Excellent manure control should be practiced, the use of fans to create air movement, and commercial fly sprays and other fly control products are all encouraged to minimize the presence of flies in the barn. Cutting back tall brush and grasses, minimizing the presence of wildlife, and keeping horses out of wooded areas can help minimize tick problems. Your veterinarian can consult with you on other measures to help minimize the presence of mosquitos, flies, and ticks on your farm.
- Support wellness using a daily supplement – Including a whole-health supplement that provides immune, gastrointestinal, and respiratory support, such as EPIC® Daily can help keep your horse in optimal condition as he faces the stresses of training or other activities in the summer heat. The product is a daily top dressing with a rice bran base. The product is rich in Omega-3 and -6 Fatty Acids, which provide immune health support. Lactobacillus acidophilus and Enterococcus faeciumsupport gastrointestinal health.
Following these tips should help keep your horse healthy and active all summer long.